MP for North Swindon

Justin Tomlinson MP

Swindon Advertiser Column: We Are At A Crucial Time In Our Nation's History

 


The majority of local residents who I speak to are well & truly fed-up of the ongoing debates on Brexit. They acknowledge it needs to be delivered; want it done so in an orderly & seamless way; and crucially, wish both sides of the debate would be willing to meet each other in the middle.

Unfortunately, there are some (MPs included) who believe that Brexit should not happen and are willing to do everything possible to frustrate, delay & block the entire process. They won’t be happy until the entire Brexit process is reversed or until we have a 2nd referendum (and presumably a 3rd if Brexit still isn’t rejected). This side are perfectly content to ignore & dismiss the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit.

In the other corner, there are those who wish to completely sever all ties with the European Union as quickly & bluntly as possible. They don’t want any transitional arrangements (despite businesses saying this is what they need) & they want to reject every single Brexit deal until they have their ‘perfect’ deal. They do not want to compromise and don’t like to acknowledge that whilst Brexit clearly won, there were still 16.1 million who voted to remain in the EU.

With these two factions unwilling to compromise, there has been deadlock. This has led to Parliament being unable to agree a Brexit deal, and has also led to divisions across the country.

Consequently, Theresa May and the Government is in an almost impossible situation. Whatever she says or does, she will displease either side. I have heard MPs from both the ERG & the Independent Group issue the same complaint - she has conceded too much to the other side. I personally have had residents who have complained that I am not delivering Brexit, as well as those who complain that I am delivering Brexit. In writing this article, I will please neither side of the Brexit debate.

However, as we are at a crucial time in our nation’s history, I along with my fellow MPs who rightly acknowledge that Brexit needs to be delivered in a balanced & pragmatic way, will continue to support the Brexit deal that is on the table.

There will be some who cry, ‘what happened to no deal is better than a bad deal.’ Well the truth is, the Government believes that this is a good deal. I agree.

Firstly, it delivers the referendum result. It will allow us to; end free movement, take back control of our laws, end payments to the EU, escape the EU's political project & its commitment to ever closer union, reject EU moves for common policies including the so-called EU army, sign & implement new services trade deals, rollover existing trade deals with major economies & ensure we continue to have an open border between Northern Ireland & Ireland.

Secondly, it ensures we continue to have a close, working relationship with a significant trading partner on matters of security, collaboration on projects including space programmes (important to Swindon’s UK Space Agency) and crucially, on trade.

Critics of this deal refuse to acknowledge its benefits. They are also completely unrealistic about the alternatives – whether you like it or not, there is not a majority in Parliament for either a no deal scenario or a 2nd referendum.

The point is this deal is not perfect for everybody. Nothing ever is. But we cannot allow perfect to be the enemy of good. We also HAVE to reach a Brexit agreement before the 29th March. This will require compromise, as does every complex agreement. I sincerely hope that BOTH sides of the debate acknowledge this need to compromise. As a country, we need to get this sorted.

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